Bargain Bin Gaming- Episode 23: Carcassonne

XBL_Carcassonneboxart_160wOn the surface, a game as simple as the obscure German board game “Carcassonne,” doesn’t look to be an enthralling addition to the X-Box Live Arcade library of games.

But just like Uno was turned into a cult classic on the 360 by Carbonated Games two and a half years ago, Sierra has done the exact same thing with “Carcassonne,” making the sometimes complex game of strategy and precision a great pick up and play title on the 360.

For those who are unfamiliar with the game, “Carcassonne,” is basically an interactive puzzle where players connect pieces to build kingdoms, roads, farms and churches, all which are worth points when connected to each other. After 70 pieces, or tiles are laid on the game board, the game is over and whoever has the most points wins the game. While this sounds rudimentary enough, up to five players can play at the same time, making for some quite interesting and intense gameplay.

As a matter of fact, “Carcassonne,” may be the most addictive title currently available on the X-Box Live Arcade.

Imagine playing a game as thought-provoking and strategic as chess and as addictive as “Tetris” and you have the foundation of “Carcassonne.” Then add in a slew of expansions, which allow gamers to create rivers and different types of towns and it’s easy to see how deep the gameplay is. If deep and addictive gameplay wasn’t enough, the game also features a fully capable online mode that also adds to the gameplay and provides even more hours of playability to already deep game.

However, the game is far from perfect on the sound and graphical level. While the game’s mediocre sound and graphics don’t take away from the game’s playability and fun by any means, Sierra could have spruced up the game board more and perhaps could have tightened up the average camera. The sound as well is far from great, as the same track is pretty much played over and over throughout the game, with various sound effects thrown in for good measure. If these problems were to be addressed, “Carcassonne” could possibly be one of the most dynamic puzzle games of all-time.

Nonetheless, these problems won’t stop you from playing this game by yourself, with friends or online against total strangers; yes, it’s that addictive. The same way games like “Sim City” and “Tetris” were able to get by on sheer gameplay is the same way that “Carcassonne” will suck you in and steal away hours of your free time away. Overall, it’s a welcome addition to anyone’s 360 collection and a phenomenal puzzle game that will be remembered for a long time.

About Patrick Hickey Jr. 10579 Articles
Patrick Hickey Jr. is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Master Jedi and Grand Pooh-bah of and is the author of the book, "The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews with Cult and Classic Video Game Developers," from leading academic and non-fiction publisher McFarland and Company. He is currently the Assistant Director of the Journalism Program at Kingsborough Community College and is a former News Editor at NBC Local Integrated Media and a National Video Games Writer at the late He has also had articles and photos published in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, Complex and The Syracuse Post-Standard. Love him. Read him.

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